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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Hurricane Irene aftermath

Just spending some healing time looking over the markets here today. I was curious why US consumers were being screwed by Big Oil overnight with gasoline prices on the MYMEX rose so suddenly in the wake of Hurricane Irene, and why some Canadian consumers are also experiencing a spike in prices.

All totally unjustified, as it turns out.

Only one refinery faced a shutdown during the hurricane event, and that was a controlled shutdown. In spite of that, there appears to be no major damage and the refineries are all operating normally. The exception to all this was the Connoco Phillips Bayside refinery in New Jersey that faced the shutdown. With a daily output of 238,000 barrels per day, it wouldn't make that much of a smack in the availability of product to consumers.

There has to be someone in the US that should be able to bring some of these speculators to task for putting the thumb-screws to consumers immediately before the Labour Day holiday.

Here in Canada, while spot prices aren't showing an increase to Newfoundland and Labrador consumers, the writing may be on the wall for us next week, if we don't see the markets retreat from the spike in prices. Cash petroleum prices rose from Monday's $2.74 a US gallon to Tuesday's $2.97 US a gallon, a 23 cent increase overnight.

Sometimes, it's just not all that rosy being tied into the New York Mercantile Exchange.

I'll be in touch!


Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Oil prices up
Distillate users to be hit hardest

Media release

Conception Bay South, NL, August 30, 2011- A four dollar increase in the price of oil will hit distillate users the most this week when the Public Utilities Board adjusts prices this coming Thursday. That’s according to George Murphy, group researcher with the Consumer Group for Fair Gas prices.

“Oil prices increased this week with some positive economic news breaking all week, especially with housing unit sales in the US and a draw-down of crude oil stocks last week. Oil has risen by close on $4.00 US a barrel in the process. Now investors are also trading on supply fears with some minor refinery outages and re-starts in the US northeast in the wake of Hurricane Irene. Hurricane syndrome is at play in the markets, especially with a sharp upwards movement in gasoline prices on the New York Mercantile Exchange today that took a chunk out of consumers’ pockets this week,” Murphy said.

Distillate movement not good

“Distillate users will notice increases across the board with heating and stove oils forecast to increase by 2.54 cents a litre. Diesel prices will also spike upwards with numbers showing an added 1.9 cents a litre. Gasoline initially showed a drop of close to a cent and a half but that is now showing just a four tenths of a cent decrease on the way to consumers after today’s speculative trading. Distillate movement upwards was indicating a turn of attention away from gasoline to distillate fuels as of yesterday, indicating the close end to the summer driving season, and the approaching winter heating season.”

Conflicting news

“I monitored this storm closely, in spite of the few refinery complexes in the US northeast. Initial word from several news sources indicated that there were no problems with refinery outages just last night to today’s news of flooding in some refineries along the eastern seaboard. A “investors panic” set in the markets that I like to call ‘Hurricane syndrome’ and the result was a 23 cent a US gallon increase in price from Monday’s market close to today’s market close. Someone in the US really needs to investigate the reasons why there was erroneous information spread like wildfire in the markets and put a stop to the speculation. They simply aren’t dealing with the reality of the situation. I would have expected a drop in imports of oil to the US northeast and an increase in gasoline supply, as demand would have wavered in the wake of the storm. The end of this pricing session does not bode well for next week’s gasoline setting, let alone winter heating oil prices. Frankly, I’m worried about the coming winter again.”


For more information, contact;

George Murphy

Group researcher/Member

Consumer Group for Fair Gas Prices

Monday, August 29, 2011

Good news...and bad news this week so far

Numbers are still showing what crude oil is telling us this week, but it seems that the emphasis that the markets are showing are now turned towards the distillate fuels. With the end of the summer driving season near, it seems like the eyes of the investor have turned away from gasolines.

Here's what I have for this pricing session so far. Six days of data:
  • Heating and stove oils are up by 2.44 cents a litre.
  • Diesel is up by 1.7 cents a litre, and...
  • Gasoline is showing down by 1.2 cents.
I'll be back with the final numbers tomorrow night!


P.S: Thanks for all the kind words. Seems like the old back of mine is still feeling the effects of the accident two weeks ago, but the doc is telling me to take things slow and give it time...

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

No changes for this week

Hi to all.

Sorry that I didn't post anything last night. I was involved in an accident last week that literally had me on my back for a week. Hopefully, the doctor will clear me to be up and around from now on so I may be able to track things like news items for you all again. It's thrown me for a loop this time around.

In short...

There’s absolutely nothing that is going to happen this week with prices. At least, according to my numbers and if you account for my 3/10ths of a cent margin for error, so, I’ll be short and sweet.

Here’s what I have for this week:

  • · Heating and stove oils show a drop of 3/100ths of a cent a litre.
  • · Diesel shows an upwards movement by 1/10th of a cent, and…
  • · Gasoline shows no changes to pricing for this week.

In some ways, you have to like that.

That’s it for this week…


George Murphy

Group researcher/Member

Consumer Group for Fair Gas Prices

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Markets rebound

Consumers to see slight increases to prices

Media release

Conception Bay South, NL, August 16, 2011- Consumers in Newfoundland and Labrador will experience a slight change to prices for petroleum products when the PUB adjusts prices this coming Thursday morning. That’s according to George Murphy, group researcher with the Consumer Group for Fair Gas Prices

“There has been a slight rebound in the markets that has also led to an increase in refined commodity prices,” Murphy said. “with the price of oil increasing by four dollars a barrel again, we’re looking at the Canadian dollar experiencing some recovery. That has lessened the blow somewhat.”

“I expect heating and stove oils to increase by just 65/100ths of a cent, while diesel shows an added 7/10ths of a cent. Gasoline shows an added 2.7 cents to consumers for Thursday’s price change.”

“The markets are extremely nervous and there’s still a lot of instability that’s playing through. I don’t expect to see a skyrocket movement upwards in oil prices, unless there is more concrete evidence of economic recovery. The jitters in the markets certainly played through again today with data from Germany beginning to show evidence of an economic slowdown happening in the European Union super-power.

Tax off most heating begins in September

According to the finance minister today, the provincial tax off heat comes into effect for consumers of heating and stove oils, propane and wood beginning in September. The tax comes off electricity in October, and it’s all compliments of the 55,000 consumers in this province who asked for the removal of the tax off heat in a petition that was presented to the government of the day on March 28, 2001, and again through the efforts of Lorraine Michael of the New Democrats in the House of Assembly as well. The measure was taken up by the present administration after undue pressure from the people of the province to have it included in the budget of April, 2011.


For more information, contact;

George Murphy

Group researcher/Member

Consumer Group for Fair Gas Prices

Twitter: @GeorgeMurphyNDP

Monday, August 15, 2011

Market recovery hits refined commodities

No doubt about it now, but the recovery of the markets from last week's tilt are going to come back on consumers again.

Here's what I have so far, six days out of seven reporting:
  • Heating and stove oils are up by 61/100ths of a cent.
  • Diesel is up by 6/10ths and,...
  • Gasoline shows an added 2.7 cents a litre upwards.
I was so looking forward to some stability when the markets drew back last week, but I guess such is not the case.

A drop in the Canuck Buck against the US dollar didn't help the situation.

I'll be back tomorrow night with the final numbers.


Tuesday, August 09, 2011

World financial crisis plays a role

Consumers to catch a break on Thursday

Media release

Conception Bay South, NL, August 9, 2011- High energy prices may have resulted in a slowdown in the world economy and sparked the financial crisis, but the world economy may have a chance to recover, if prices keep dropping like they will this Thursday. That’s according to George Murphy, group researcher for the Consumer Group for Fair Gas Prices.

Reasons why prices will drop

“The havoc and doubt about the world economy and how well the economy has actually been doing started the drop In oil prices that will result in a break to consumers this week”, Murphy said. “High energy costs chew up a lot of disposable income amongst consumers out there, so it’s not unreasonable to assume consumer spending would have been cut with the advent of austerity programming to pay off some country’s debts. Hose methods to pay off debts are part reason why prices have been dropping.”

“While oil prices dropped feverishly, refined commodities didn’t go down as far as one would expect. There’s still a thought out there amongst speculators out there that refined commodities are a place to cut your losses. I believe that prices for refined commodities are still going to show a downwards trend for the next while, if market conditions continue with doubts about economic recovery.

What’s In the numbers

“Heating and stove oils show a drop of 2.98 cents per litre coming for Thursday, while diesel is down by 3.7 cents. Gasoline numbers are taking the biggest drop, now showing down by 6.1 cents a litre to consumers when the Public Utilities Board makes the adjustments early Thursday morning.

“Consumers need this break, and it is welcome, but the investor and speculator needs to know that we still can’t handle prices as high as they will be, and we’re still looking for prices to return to a level we can bear. There really has to come a point where they have to realize that high energy costs cause world financial problems and economic hardship in the first place. Cheap energy means everyone benefits.

Competition in the St. John’s northeast?

Some gas stations in the northeast end of the capital have lowered their prices slightly in response to the entry of Costco in the markets. While prices have been set at a maximum of $1.33.4 by the PUB, some stations are down to $1.31.4 against the Costco selling price of $1.27.4 cents a litre.

“The entry of Costco into the market has done expressly what I had hoped for. Consumers now have a small break coming to them as there is now a spread of some six cents a litre between stations. Finally, we have some competition out there, and we hope it continues!”


For more information, contact;

George Murphy

Group researcher/Member

Consumer Group for Fair Gas Prices

On Twitter: @GeorgeMurphyNDP

Monday, August 08, 2011

Numbers still showing downwards for this week

Just back in off the water for my last time this year as the campaign is about to go gangbusters, so sorry if I'm a little later than usual.

Yes, I got my quota!

Here's what I have after this week's havoc in the markets. Keep in mind that i have one more day to go before I get the final data:
  • Heating and stove oils are down by 2.29 cents per litre.
  • Diesel shows a drop of 3.1 cents, and...
  • Gasoline shows a drop of 5.8 cents a litre.
I'll be back tomorrow night with the final numbers, but I can say now that all fuels will be showing a drop by the Public Utilities Board this Thursday coming.



Thursday, August 04, 2011

Consumer advisory

Hi to all…

Just letting everyone know that I am tracking the latest round of market trading in oil prices and refined commodities.

There is enough here now to give an advisory to consumers in Newfoundland and Labrador to go sparingly on any purchases of fuels as I am tracking a substantial drop in prices that is in the works for Thursday coming.

Fears of a US economic slowdown and some building of fuel inventories are playing havoc with oil prices worldwide to the point that consumers could see anywhere between five and eight cents a litre down on gasoline prices, especially if oil prices continue their downwards trend this week.

Summarily, the distillates are also starting their way down with heating and stove oils showing 2.2 cents down and diesel down by an even three cents so far. I expect prices to show a downwards trend continuing through to next week when prices are adjusted for Thursday.

Nova Scotia consumers will catch their break at nidnight tonight with the new price setting.

Unregulated markets in the rest of Canada should expect to see prices dip at midnight by close on 4.5 cents a litre again tonight.

By the way. You can catch me on Twitter now @GeorgeMurphyNDP will get you there!

Regards for now,

George Murphy

Group researcher/Member

Consumer Group for Fair Gas Prices